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A hermit's life: Tokyo artist creates bespoke shells for living crabs

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A hermit's life: Tokyo artist creates bespoke shells for living crabs

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A group of hermit crabs have found brand new homes thanks to Tokyo-based artist Aki Inomata. Inomata created shells modelled on famous places and

A group of hermit crabs have found brand new homes thanks to Tokyo-based artist Aki Inomata.

Inomata created shells modelled on famous places and architecture around the world, before introducing them to live crabs to pick and choose their new homes.

Her project, entitled ‘Why Not Hand Over a ‘Shelter’ to Hermit Crabs?’, features designs that range from the iconic skylines of New York City to the windmills of the Netherlands.

“My aim in this project was for hermit crabs to be able to move to different cities all over the world and exchange homes. So I chose these cities in order to include as many various kinds of buildings within each region,” Inomata says.

Inomata uses CT scans to study the shape of regular shells.

She then redesigns them using computer graphics before printing them in 3D.

“The inside of a hermit crab shell has a spiral shape, which cannot be realised by hand-carving but only by building layers. I knew that 3D printing was the best suited to that purpose and decided to use it for this project,” she says.

The hermit crab project won the Grand Prize last year at the YouFab Global Creative Awards.

Outside of Japan, Inomata has also exhibited her work in China and the United States.